Pitch Clock A "Priority" For MLB Owners

As the time of major league games hit an all-time high in 2021, at 3 hours and 10 minutes, baseball owners are focused on getting a new pitch clock implemented in the near future. As commissioner Rob Manfred explained on ESPN SportsCenter, it's been a rousing success in the minors in cutting game times and increasing action:

I will say this: We've experimented extensively with the pitch clock in the minor leagues. It does help in terms of the pace of the game. It does help also in terms of the way the game is played, meaning more action, so it is something that remains high on the priority list of ownership.

ESPN reports that "studies have shown that additional time between pitches is the primary factor in the increased length of games." This year, in Triple-A, they'll use a 14-second clock with no runners on base and 19 seconds with runners on.

In the minors, game times were cut by over 20 minutes by a pitch clock in A-Ball, while also increasing game action by adding more offense. As Jayson Stark of The Athletic said after investigating the experiment in the minors, "there is no more dead time. One thing I'm sure you've noticed is we never hear anybody say, 'We need more dead time in baseball!'"

Manfred added, "We have a great game, but historically I think the game was a little crisper the way it moved along, it had a little more action in it, more frequent balls in play, and getting back to that form of baseball would be an improvement for us, for the players and for the fans."

However, as per the new collective bargaining agreement, new rules must be ratified by a committee of current players, an umpire and others appointed by MLB. 

No word on when this, and other proposed rule changes like limiting the shift, would be voted on.

Photo Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports